If the weather outside is frightful, don’t go outside. Instead, enjoy the indoors by snuggling up under the blankets and enjoying one of these warm, wintry beverages you can whip up in a jiffy:
1. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Start by preparing your favorite hot chocolate recipe. There are a few different ways you can add a touch of peppermint: For an incredibly simple recipe, add a few drops of peppermint extract and stir. If you’re looking for something more decorative, a peppermint stick gives a hint of mint, and serves as a perfect stirring device! Cover the top with whipped cream and add a few mint leaves to give it an extra touch of indulgence.
2. Ginger Tea
Ginger has a flavor that falls somewhere between sweet and spicy, which means it’s sure to warm you up on a cold winter day. Ginger tea is also a great drink for when you’re feeling under the weather, so hold on to this recipe for those times when you’re stuffed up and miserable. To make your own ginger tea, simply put fresh, grated ginger in filtered water and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat, cover the saucepan, and let it steep for 10 minutes. If you want to give your ginger tea a little variety, you can add a slice of lemon, a spoonful of honey or some cloves while it’s steeping.
3. Spiced Cider
With a few simple steps, you can turn store-bought cider into a masterpiece. Pour a gallon of cider into a large pot, and add a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of allspice and a dash of nutmeg. Begin warming the mixture over medium heat, and stir in 1/4 cup (60-mL) of brown sugar. Once the mixture comes to a low boil, slice an orange and add it to the mixture along with a heat-safe herb infuser filled with 2 teaspoons (10-mL) of cloves. Simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Not only will this taste like the holidays in a cup, but it will make your home smell absolutely wonderful.
4. Mexican Hot Chocolate
To make Mexican hot chocolate, add 1/2 teaspoon (2.5-mL) of cinnamon and a pinch of chili powder to your hot cocoa. Top with whipped cream and give it a light dusting of cocoa powder for presentation. This bold hot chocolate variation will be sure to warm you up, but fair warning: This drink is not for the tender of tongue. It’s only as spicy as you make it, but even the tiniest touch of chili powder will dramatically ramp up the heat.
5. Chai Tea Latte
This is a blissfully easy drink that will leave you cozy any time of year. Boil 2 cups (500-mL) of water, and steep your chai tea for 5 minutes. While it’s infusing, bring 3 cups (750-mL) of milk to a low boil over medium heat, stirring to avoid scorching. As soon as you spot bubbles, take the milk off of the heat. Rapidly whisk a teaspoon (5-mL) of cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon (2.5-mL) of vanilla extract into the milk, and continue whisking until the milk takes on a frothy texture. To make the latte, pour 1/2 cup (125-mL) of chai tea into a mug, then slowly add 3/4 cup (180-mL) of frothed milk. You’ll get about four cups (1 L) out of this recipe.
6. Eggnog Hot Chocolate
This is another simple hot chocolate variation, although it does require a little extra work. The only real trick to this one is making sure your eggnog is nice and warm, so you don’t accidentally turn your hot chocolate into lukewarm chocolate. Bring your eggnog to a slow simmer, and then mix equal parts hot chocolate and ‘nog. Since eggnog is a “love it or hate it” kind of drink, there’s a good chance this beverage will be a bit divisive. That said, fans of the ‘nog will absolutely love this rich, wintry treat.
7. Hot Buttered Rum (Rum Optional)
Buttered rum takes a little bit of work, but it’s totally worth it. Start by creaming together 2 cups (500 mL) of butter and 1 cup (250-mL) each brown sugar and confectioner’s sugar. Add in a teaspoon of vanilla (5-mL), 1/2 teaspoon (2.5-mL) each of nutmeg and cinnamon, and 1/4 (1.25-mL) teaspoon of allspice. Stir this mixture in with 2 cups (500 mL) of softened vanilla ice cream. Once everything is well-combined, you have your base batter for hot buttered rum. Put two tablespoons (30-mL) in a mug, and fill with hot water. At this point, you have your virgin drink – add a shot of rum, and you’re all finished!
Chai tea and cider are a match made in comfy-cozy heaven. It’s also super easy to make – simply mix together steeped chai tea, apple cider, spices and orange slices to taste. The ratio is entirely up to you – this can be chai tea with a splash of cider, cider with a hint of chai, or true half-and-half chaider. Try different combinations to see what you like best! You can even combine this recipe with the chai latte recipe to make yourself a chaider latte.
9. S’mores Hot Chocolate
This drink will bring your soul right back to summer nights next to the campfire. Top your hot chocolate with lots and lots of marshmallows, and use a long match, candle lighter or chef’s torch to brown the top of the marshmallows. Sprinkle crumbled graham crackers on top, and voila! You have a beverage you can sip when it’s cold out that will make you feel like it’s summer all year long.
10. Mulled Wine (or Mulled “Wine”)
Mulled wine is as simple as it is delicious. Combine a bottle of dry red wine, orange and lemon slices, cloves, and cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan. Let the mixture simmer (not boil) for 20 minutes, and add in sugar to taste. If you don’t drink, or you’re looking for a mocktail version for the kids, just swap the red wine for high-quality red grape juice. You’ll get the an alcohol-free version of the same sweet and spicy flavor.